Reflecting on George Soros’s $50 Million Intervention in Bosnia, 25 Years Later
According to the 2017 Almanac of American Philanthropy, the Open Society Foundations’ 1993 intervention in Bosnia was one of the great achievements in the history of philanthropy.
“Western governments,” the Almanac says, “were pathetically slow and inadequate in their response to the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia that killed tens of thousands. The most effective actor by far was philanthropist George Soros—who used $50 million of his own money to insert a highly effective relief team into the city of Sarajevo while it was under siege, re-establishing gas and electric service during the bitter winter, setting up an alternate water source, and bringing in desperately needed supplies. It has been estimated that Soros’s gift saved more lives than the efforts of all national governments plus the United Nations combined.”
In fact, Soros’s $50 million gift financed a lot more than relief efforts. At a recent event marking the 25th anniversary of the gift, four people who took part in “saving Bosnia” spoke about one of the most important and dramatic chapters in the history of the Open Society Foundations.